The Entrepreneur Forum of VIA recently organized “My Success Story” of two of the most happening start-ups of Nagpur i.e ‘PANINO’ Sandwiches and ‘KHICHADIWALA’. Two young entrepreneurs, Mr Ankit Agrawal owner of Panino and Mr Manish Khanchandani owner of Khichadiwala shared the story of their successful entrepreneurial journey.
When Mr Ankit Agrawal failed to get admission in Engineering college, he turned his attention to Management studies and did his MBA from RCOEM Nagpur. Initially for a few days, he worked in an insurance company. The experience he gained in this tough field made him realize that if could sell insurance policies he could sell anything. Since earning money was the prime target of his life, his obvious choice of career was always business. He left Aviva and started toying with various business ideas and tried his hands in selling spices, in which he failed miserably. It was then that his brother hit upon the idea of starting a sandwich outlet, which is in great demand with the young generation. Since nobody was serving Indianized sandwiches, Mr Ankit saw lot of potential in this field. The first outlet of Panino was set up on 25th December 2010 with just 2 employees in Wardhaman Nagar, with the caption ‘relish in goodness’ Due to paucity of funds, initially Mr Ankit had to rely on friends and relatives for initial capital. His mother had a big hand in product development and standardization. According to him the initial days were very bad not only in terms of sales but also there were many people ready to pull him down with negative comments. Mr Ankit decided to get one last try, by trying to learn from the business itself. Soon he started marketing extensively, relying mostly on social media, pamphlets, college promotions and maintaining quality standards which fetched Panino lot a lot of word of mouth publicity. He also changed the tag line to Panino Sandwiches to make it more specific. He always felt that it is only good name that creates successful business so he slowly started focusing on branding, standardization and prepared a comprehensive SOP. By then Panino opened several outlets and to maintain quality and standardization, Mr Ankit started a centralized kitchen which supplied the raw material to all the outlets. As a part of expansion program, Mr Ankit stepped into the field of Franchising, which helped him to earn a good turnover. Today PANINO boasts of 10 successful outlets in Vidarbha with a staff of over 150 people.
According to Mr Ankit, to be a successful entrepreneur, one must be ambitious, focused on his goals and have self belief. According to him one does not be a rich person to start a business but should have the vision to be an entrepreneur.
The second speaker, Mr Manish Khanchandani a college dropout started his career selling mobile accessories in which he failed miserably and lost lot of money. He quit the business and joined Excel Services, Pune, but due to some family compulsion had to leave the job and return to Nagpur. He got an opportunity to participate in an entrepreneur’s fair organized by the Lemon School of Entrepreneurship where he met his future partner Sagar Bhajani. After lot of deliberation, they set up a’ Khichadi’ stall in front of the Traffic Park which was a complete sell out . This gave Mr Manish the confidence and the idea to start a full-fledged exclusively ‘Khichadi’ selling business. Manish, a passionate chef and a self confessed foodie, along with his partner set up the first outlet of ‘Khichadiwala’ near the IT Park in 2015, with an initial capital of Rs. 70,000 borrowed from family. This venture was started essentially targeting the 18-35 yrs age group. Though the initial 3 months was a period of struggle, the hygienically prepared, reasonably priced and easy to digest Khichadi soon started attracting patrons. Mr Manish did not have to wait much longer to start the second outlet of ‘Khichadiwala’ in Ramdaspeth, which also is a big hit. Mr Manish did face manpower problem, but he says that it is a part and parcel of all business. He says that though life is very hectic for him due to the long working hours, san holiday, he says that he never regrets it because he loves what he is doing. Recently he has started a new venture ‘Knock Knock Kitchen’ which serves food only from 11 pm to 4 am.
Mr Manish says that his success mantra is hard work, focused attitude, will to learn something new each day and the dignity of labour.
At the outset, Mr Akash Agrawal Chairman Entrepreneur Forum and Mr Suresh Rathi, Vice President – VIA gave their welcome address. The speakers Mr Manish Khanchandani was welcomed by VIA Mentor, Mr Ashit Sinha and Mr Ankit Agrawal was welcomed by Mr Suresh Rathi. Mr Ashit Sinha summed up the proceedings and proposed a vote of thanks. The program was coordinated and conducted by Mrs Anita Rao, Convenor Entrepreneur’s Forum.